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FTB: The Maple Leafs next century is coming, will it include a new arena?

Will Toronto get a new hockey arena before Calgary?

Flames v Maple Leafs
Calgary’s arena is so old it is literally a barn.
Getty Images

We are three days away from the start of the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp. It’s exciting. Real hockey is coming soon!

In fact, this season will be the start of the Maple Leafs “Next Century”. With the 100th anniversary season passing by, there will be a “Next Century Game” on the afternoon of December 19th, specifically marking the exact time of the Toronto Arenas first game 100 years earlier.

With that news out of the way, a topical question is where will the Maple Leafs play in the next century? Over in Seattle, our friend Tim Leiweke has scored a deal with the city to renovate an existing arena to modern standards that will allow it to pull in an NBA and/or NHL team. He’s probably planning parade routes right now.

Meanwhile in Calgary, the Flames organization formally gave up on trying to get everyone else to pay for a new arena. Things seem to have gone south when Brian Burke, President of Hockey Operations for the Flames, suggested “intelligent people” should be happy to accept any proposal made by the Flames organization for public funding of a new arena. “Intelligent people” would not have signed Brett Lebda to a two year contract, but, whatever. He may have a point. The Saddledome is almost as old as Jarome Iginla, so, perhaps something does need to be done. Iginla can’t even find an NHL contract at his age.

So, back to the Leafs. The ACC is 18 years old, but that’s like 18,000 in arena/stadium years. It wasn’t specifically built to be a great hockey arena. Outside, Maple Leaf Square is great fun in theory, but in reality it’s small, cramped, and was built more to accommodate cars rather than crowds of fans. The Honda Center in Anaheim is only six years older than the ACC, yet it is apparently the second oldest arena in the league after Calgary’s.

Will MLSE be making noises about needing a new purpose-built hockey venue in a few years? Where would it go? Where would you want it to go?


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